ATD Applauds Rep. Chris Pappas’ (D-N.H.) Letter to House Democratic Leadership Urging FET Repeal and Replacement

WASHINGTON (July 30, 2021)–Yesterday, Rep. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) sent a letter to the Democratic leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives calling for repeal of the 12% federal excise tax (FET) on new heavy-duty trucks and trailers.

Rep. Pappas’ letter, signed by 30 House Democrats, was sent to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democratic leaders urging them to include FET repeal in upcoming infrastructure legislation and replace the tax with an equitable funding mechanism for the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). In his letter, Rep. Pappas highlights that repeal of the FET will help America’s truck fleets replace older heavy-duty trucks with newer, safer and greener trucks, and ensure a more consistent revenue source for the HTF.

“New heavy-duty trucks today have the latest emission control and safety technologies and are cleaner, safer and more fuel efficient. With more than half of the Class 8 trucks on the road over 10 years old, repealing the FET would benefit the environment and improve highway safety by accelerating fleet turnover,” the letter stated.

"We thank Rep. Pappas for his work to repeal the outdated FET in the New Hampshire tradition of environmental protection and commonsense tax policies," said Peter McNamara, president of the New Hampshire Automobile Dealers Association, which also represents heavy-duty truck dealers in the state. "Repealing and replacing the FET will speed up the adoption of newer, cleaner and safer trucks on the road by making them more affordable, support New Hampshire jobs related to truck retailing and reduce the tax burden placed on many small businesses."

The FET was first enacted by Congress in 1917 to help fund World War I and is the highest excise tax on a percentage basis that Congress levies on a product, often adding over $20,000 to the price of a new heavy-duty truck. The tax coupled with recent regulatory costs makes it more difficult for small businesses to afford a new truck, especially alternative-fueled trucks, which have higher up-front costs.

“On behalf of the trucking industry, we thank Congressman Pappas for his efforts to promote the adoption of newer, greener trucks and to protect the 1.3 million jobs supported by Class 8 truck and trailer manufacturing.” said Steve Bassett, ATD chairman and dealer principal of General Truck Sales in Muncie, Ind.

On July 22, Sens. Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) introduced bipartisan legislation, S. 2435, to repeal the FET and modernize America’s heavy-duty truck fleet.

The full text of Rep. Pappas’ letter can be found here and list of House Democratic signatories can be found here. For more information on the FET, an infographic and a one-page issue brief is available.